Indian Child Removal

Indian child removal was the socially and politically acceptable policy behind residential schools, American Indian Boarding schools, Canada’s 60s Scoop and the American Indian Adoption Projects. One quarter of all American Indian children were removed from their families and placed in non-Indian adoptive and foster homes or orphanages as part of the 1960s American Indian Adoption Projects. That fact led to the passage of the 1978 American Indian Child Welfare Act requiring that Indian Tribes be notified whenever one of their tribal members is taken into care, or is being placed for adoption. Many of the stories of those children are told in Two Worlds: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects (2012 Blue Hand Books Patricia Cotter-Busbee & Trace A. Demeyer Eds.)

The magnitude of the removal of children in Canada has not yet been measured. It ought to be. It is likely that the Canadian numbers are proportionately as high. A study or an inquiry to look into the issue is needed not merely to measure the magnitude of the sin or the names of the sinners but to respond to the suggestion that the child removal system was saving the children from incapable families.

There is merit to the suggestion that any incapacities of the families were a result of the actions of government, such as 100 years of Indian Residential Schools, and systemic and outright racism.

If so. it would be manifestly unfair to allow the perpetrator of an historical injustice to wrap itself in the saviour’s cloak. The children who were removed need to know they are not alone, but they also need to know that there were reasons for what happened not of their parents’ making.

About Senator Murray Sinclair

Canadian Senator Formerly Justice of the Court of Queen's Bench of Manitoba and recent Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
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